Posted by: JackRyan88 | December 24, 2012

Christmas Message (2012)

The days leading to Christmas we hear and read the story of the birth of Christ.  Probably one of the most read stories of the bible.  Tonight, listen to Luke’s words and how simple a message this is, for Christ is in our lives with this simplicity, no fanfare or pomp and circumstance.  Brought to us by a simple sign.  Something unexpected, but simple.

Luke 2 1-20

1And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.  2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)  3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.  4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David.  5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.  6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.  7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.  8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.  12And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.  15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.  20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

And what sign did God choose to signify his coming to the earth? He chose a baby wrapped in strips of cloth lying in a manger. The early church father Chrysostom (Chris-system) called it “a tremendous and wonderful sign.” He referred to I Timothy 3:16, which tells us that “Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh.” He goes on to say that we should love this holy day (Christmas) because it means that the Word was made flesh and God came to earth to dwell among us.

God’s surprising sign is a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and resting in a feeding-trough in a cave behind a village inn. It’s not a very likely beginning for a movement that will change the world. What a rebuke to those who love pomp and outward glory, to those who despise the small things of the world. Jesus was once a “small thing” himself. To borrow a phrase from Martin Luther, “He whom the worlds cannot enwrap yonder lies in Mary’s lap.” This is surely a strange way for a Savior to enter the world. Even the poorest child would not be found in a manger, but there he was, God’s appointed “sign” from heaven.

If the world had needed education, God would have sent a student or a school teacher.

If the world had needed beauty, God would have sent a florist or a beautician.

If the world had needed an army, God would have sent a general or a lawyer.

If the world had needed more money, God would have sent a banker.

If the world has needed security, God would have sent a Corrections Officer or a Warden.

But since the world needed a Savior, God sent a baby! And that is the surprise, and the wonder, and ultimately the delight of Christmas. God did what we would never have done, and in so doing, he opened the door to heaven for all of us.

A baby… the son of God… The Savior of mankind.

Let us pray…

Lord tonight as we celebrate the word becoming flesh, we are grateful that your story has become our story and we celebrate your birth.  As we trudge through the tasks of the holiday season, restore to us the simplicity of it.  Make this season, a new season of a Christ centered life.

We pray for those we have gone before us and rest in your arms.  We pray for our sons and daughters who defend our country, bring them home safely into our arms.  Place your loving grace on all of mankind and restore in us the clean heart of your forgiveness.

God grant us the light of Christmas which is faith.  The warmth of Christmas which is purity.  The righteousness of Christmas which is justice.  The belief of Christmas which is truth.  The all of Christmas which is you, Christ Our Lord.  In your name we pray.  Amen.

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